Project plans are now finalised for a major programme of restoration on an iconic North East landmark with work set to get underway this September.
Esh Construction is delivering the project on behalf of both Newcastle and Gateshead councils following an extended period of inspection which has outlined the extent of repairs required to the Tyne Bridge.
Upon the kittiwakes departing, Esh will commence work under the bridge adjacent to the Gateshead tower, first installing a complex scaffold structure which will provide access beneath the bridge deck to carry out structural repairs and re-painting. Scaffold towers will be installed on the roof of both Newcastle and Gateshead towers to provide nesting provision ahead of the kittiwakes returning for the breeding season next year.
While the initial works on the Grade II* listed structure will have minimum impact on the transport network, the Tyne Bridge will be reduced to one lane in either direction from next year to allow the major maintenance programme to be carried out safely.
The scheme, which is expected the last up to four years, will include steelwork repairs, grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.
Steven Garrigan, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: “We are pleased to reach this stage following an intensive period of investigations that discovered the scale of repair work required to maintain the load capacity of the structure and future proof the route.
“The scheme will mark the first major maintenance programme on the bridge in over two decades, and as a regional contractor, we are proud to be working on a landmark of such significance.”
The councils are contributing £6.1 million to the project cost which will allow work to get underway ahead of the Government providing an additional £35.3 million via a funding bid which was confirmed by the Department for Transport last summer.
Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “We are committed to preserving our iconic Tyne Bridge for future generations. For many the Tyne Bridge is a symbol of home and we welcome this progress.
“We are unrelenting in our passion to see our much-loved bridge restored to its former glory, but this will require up to four years of refurbishment due to the huge scale of works required.
“The bridge isn’t only an iconic structure, it is also a major gateway to our city and the works will have an impact on the travelling public from next year. We are working hard with transport providers to ensure good public transport links for people travelling in and out of the area.
“I am sure everyone will get behind us due to the huge importance of the bridge to our city and region, as we all want to see it shining proudly in the Tyneside skyline once again.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council said: “The Tyne Bridge is an important landmark for the North East and we all want to see this iconic structure brought back to the standard we expect to see.
“We will collaborate closely with our partners to put plans in place to manage the transport network as this refurbishment works gets underway. It will be a proud day when the Tyne Bridge is restored to its former glory.”
We are pleased to reach this stage following an intensive period of investigations that discovered the scale of repair work required to maintain the load capacity of the structure and future proof the route. The scheme will mark the first major maintenance programme on the bridge in over two decades, and as a regional contractor, we are proud to be working on a landmark of such significance."